Bipartisan Tribal Energy Bill Headed to President’s Desk
WASHINGTON, D.C. —On Dec. 10, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) praised the House of Representatives for passing S. 245, the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2017. The Senate passed S. 245 in November 2017. Barrasso, a cosponsor of S. 245, originally introduced the legislation in 2011.
The legislation, which is now headed to the president’s desk to be signed into law, will give Indian tribes more tools to develop energy resources and remove unnecessary barriers to economic development in Indian Country.
“For years, Indian tribes have expressed concerns about the numerous job-crushing federal laws and duplicative regulations governing the management of Indian energy resources,” said Barrasso. “This bill will go a long way toward breaking down barriers to tribal energy development and will help create good-paying jobs for tribal members. It will also contribute to the country’s energy security by developing more American-made energy. I look forward to President Trump signing this bill into law and fostering economic development in tribal communities across the country.”
S. 245 was introduced by Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman John Hoeven (R-ND) on Jan. 30, 2017 and has seven bipartisan cosponsors including Barrasso and Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).
The Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2017:
• Directs the Department of the Interior (DOI) to provide Indian tribes with technical assistance in planning their energy resource development programs.
• Expands the Department of Energy (DOE) Indian energy education planning and management assistance program.
• Amends the Federal Power Act to require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to give Tribes, in addition to states and municipalities, preference for the receipt of preliminary hydroelectric licenses.
• Creates at least four new biomass projects to be implemented for Tribes and Alaska Native corporations, in order to promote biomass energy production.
Senator Barrasso originally introduced the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments in 2011 during the 112th Congress.